Summer Internships: Anam Rawoof '24
Name: Anam Rawoof
Class Year: 2024
Major: Biochemistry and Health Humanities
Hometown: Mount Laurel, NJ
Internship Organization: MD Anderson
Job Title: Summer Student Researcher
Location: Houston, Texas
What’s happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!
I have just finished my research which examined the role of the microRNA miR-181c-3p on the tumor microenvironment of epithelial ovarian cancer patients. I entered this summer with only one semester of introductory biology under my belt and very little experience in a biology lab, however I have learned so much over the course of the summer. I have cultured cells, run western blots, used qPCR, and have stained patient tissue samples this summer. I was also able to present a poster on my work, which was a very fulfilling end to the summer.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I applied for this internship because I believed it would expand my horizons in many ways. In the past, I have done clinical cancer research, but I wanted to explore a more scientific approach to cancer research. I ended up appreciating the scientific side more because I felt as though it was more hands-on and required more problem-solving skills. I have also spent a great deal of time in chemistry laboratory and was interested in how a biology laboratory might be different. Lastly, I was really excited about working in the Texas Medical Center, which is the biggest medical center in the world. This was an amazing opportunity and it was very exciting to be surrounded by people who were in medical or biology fields.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?
Before this summer, I had never formally worked in a biology lab, and I was not used to many of the sterile techniques I had to employ. I have much more experience in a chemistry environment; however, sterility is extremely important in biology for accurate results and to prevent contamination. This may seem like a silly challenge, but it took me some time to become acclimated to this new type of lab work. Because of this, I would also make small mistakes in the beginning of the summer, which required me to start things over again often. On top of my own learning curve, some of the staining techniques that I used were not very effective and I had to become more comfortable with failure and trial and error in the lab. However, by the end of the summer I was able to efficiently work through my projects and use many different sterile laboratory techniques.
What is most rewarding about your internship
I really loved and felt passionate about the work that I was doing this summer. Epithelial ovarian cancer is the leading cause of gynecologic cancer deaths and its treatment is not very effective. I was proud to be playing even a small role in finding a solution to these problems. It was also rewarding to be able to see cancer patients and put a face to the research that I was doing. Presenting my poster not only demonstrated all that I had worked on this summer, but also allowed me to receive feedback and hear the ideas of other scientists in the field.